A man previously employed at ViewSonic Corp. was arrested Thursday morning on federal charges of hacking into the company’s computer system.
Andy Garcia, 39, of Montebello, is accused of hacking, as well as wiping out critical data, which shut down a computer server that authorities say was central to the company’s office in Taiwan. He was taken into custody by the U.S. Department of Justice after an indictment last month by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles. Garcia is scheduled to go before a judge today in United States District Court in Los Angeles. If convicted, he could face 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
Garcia was the network administrator at ViewSonic’s headquarters in Walnut, Calif., where he was in charge of several computer servers and had access to system passwords for management employees.
On April 14, 2002, approximately two weeks after Garcia was fired, authorities say Garcia accessed ViewSonic’s computer system and deleted files on one of the servers that he had maintained while he was still employed by the company.
Assistant United States Attorney Wesley Hsu said Garcia used a virtual private network that he established while at the company to access ViewSonic’s system.
“On the day of the intrusion, the ViewSonic computer logged his computer access using different user names — not his own — but the company kept logs and the intrusions could all be traced back to Garcia’s home computer IP address,” Hsu said.
According to the arrest warrant, ViewSonic claims the database server was offline for three days. Early estimates place the damage at $1 million.
Representatives with ViewSonic were not immediately available for comment.
Garcia was also charged with possession of a semi-automatic assault weapon found at his home. His possession of such a weapon is unlawful because he was previously convicted of two felonies. On May 31 1988, Garcia was convicted of assault with a firearm and corporal injury to a spouse.
Hsu said there was no indication that Garcia was planning to physically attack his former employers.
ViewSonic makes CRT and LCD computer displays, including the Professional Series for high-end computer-aided design, desktop publishing, and graphic design; the Graphics and E2 lines for homes and small offices; and the A Series for replacing monitors included in bundled systems. ViewSonic also offers plasma TVs, high-definition televisions (HDTV), LCD projectors, handheld computers, and tablet PCs.